Jude Shea has lost his job and his boyfriend all in one crushing blow. It’s left him reeling, but he’s trying not to dwell on the negative. Then one night Jude finds himself rescuing a wounded dog. He bonds quickly with the overly friendly animal and Jude senses his luck is finally improving. His new friend is more than he seems though and to his shock, Jude discovers his canine companion is suddenly a man.
Eoin Thral was born to savagery. His job as Guardian has confined him to a loveless empty life of battle until he meets Jude. Eoin isn’t from this world and Jude finds himself following the man into another dimension.
Eoin has spent his life looking for Jude and he isn’t about to let him go without a fight. But his home isn’t a safe one and before they can make a life together, Eoin must embark on a dangerous mission. It means leaving Jude and trusting fate to reunite them. It will take everything in his power to survive, and even if he does, will Jude still be waiting for him?
I’ve been a fan of Mary Calmes for years, so how The Guardian failed to make it to my radar I’m not sure. But it seemed like a perfect fit for our Paranormal Week here at Joyfully Jay.
The Guardian requires a significant amount of “just go with it” because the plot is absurd even for a paranormal. There’s shifting, inter-dimensional travel, fated mates, and that’s really just the first third of the book. Really this is one of The Guardian’s biggest issues — it tries too hard to be too many things. Instead of picking one paranormal genre to focus on, The Guardian wants to be all of them, or least a lot of them.
Jude is relatively easy for readers to relate to and he seems like an average Joe, who just happens to accept whatever weird stuff comes his way. He’s been hurt badly by his ex and been forced to leave his job as a result. Eoin is an Alpha male to the extreme, all chest thumping and territory claiming. Jude seems to enjoy it, but it was so excessive that I didn’t find it particularly endearing. The author has done a good job setting at least a basic sense of time and place for Eoin’s realm (think medieval Scotland) and the characters from this world speak oddly, at least to us. This makes reading the conversations a little tiresome, but it does help to give the book a real sense of personality.
There is one scene in particular that left me feeling uneasy. Jude believes himself to be having a dream and during this time he has some sexy times with Eoin. This is essentially their first shag and given the way it’s written and that Jude isn’t fully aware of the situation, it comes off a bit rapey. It was definitely a scene that I was uncomfortable with, even though I wouldn’t go quite so far as calling it dubious or non-consent.
On the whole The Guardian isn’t one of Mary Calmes’ stronger stories and it didn’t work for me on multiple levels. There were too many paranormal genres on page and it resulted in a cluttered story with characters that didn’t exactly jump off the page. Unless you just love stories with multiple paranormal aspects, I’d recommend trying one of Mary Calmes’ other works first.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.